Jason Watkins says the loss and guilt he feels over daughter’s death is ‘indescribable’
Jason Watkins has opened up about the grief his family experienced following his two-year-old daughter’s death of sepsis.
The actor and his wife Clara Francis lost Maudie in 2011 after she died of undiagnosed sepsis, which is a life-threatening reaction to an infection.
Ahead of their ITV documentary about their loss, Watkins appeared on Good Morning Britain and said it was “easy to blame yourself” for his daughter’s death.
He said: “That’s one of the painful things, thinking, ‘Did we do everything we could?’ It’s easy to blame yourself… because I was there the second time she was discharged.”
Watkins described sepsis as a “cruel condition”. It occurs when the immune system overreacts to an infection and damages the body’s own tissues and organs.
“We are an imperfect family who have survived the worst thing that can happen to a parent,” he said, adding that the documentary aims to show that families “can survive” such a loss.
“It’s indescribable, the sense of guilt, loss, the absence of your child, the light of your life is gone and you don’t know how you can go on.”
Francis, who appeared alongside her husband, added that she “didn’t know if I could laugh again or smile” while grieving for Maudie.
.@Jason__Watkins and @clarabetsy open up about their daughter's death in a new documentary.
They tell the emotional story of their daughter Maudie, who died suddenly of sepsis aged just two and a half in 2011.
Jason & Clara: In Memory of Maudie airs tonight on @ITV at 9pm. pic.twitter.com/Svfk6GvfRX
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) March 30, 2023
The couple’s documentary, Jason & Clara: In Memory of Maudie, features them offering support to other families who are grieving losses because of sepsis.
Francis, who has been married to Watkins since 2014, said the show was a chance to raise awareness about sepsis as well as “talk about how it is possible to live your life after such a terrible tragedy”.
“Anyone who’s lost someone you love, you’re never going to get over it, somehow you’re carrying your loved one – whether they’re your grandfather, your child, your dog – you find a way to carry them through your life,” she added.
Watkins said that Maudie is “very much alive this week” as they prepare for the documentary to air on Thursday night (30 March) at 9pm.
The couple share two other children, Bessie and Gilbert. Watkins also shares two sons, Freddie and Pip, with his first wife, Caroline Harding.
He is the ambassador of the UK Sepsis Trust and a patron of Child Bereavement UK, which supports children, young people and families when a child is grieving or has died.